Shuttle to Lift Satellite for Study of Ozone
National Aeronautics and Space Administration officials said they will try to launch the shuttle Discovery on Sept. 12 to lift a satellite designed to collect data on the ozone layer and other components of the upper atmosphere.
Mission managers set the date Wednesday, after a daylong flight-readiness review.
The shuttle flight, NASA’s 43rd, is to lift off at 3:57 p.m. PDT. Discovery is to land at Kennedy Space Center early on Sept. 18.
It would be the first shuttle landing in the dark at the space center, which has become the primary touchdown spot. Eight shuttle flights have returned to Earth here, the latest 2 1/2 weeks ago.
Discovery’s five astronauts plan to release the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite midway into the flight. The satellite is to operate at least 18 months, measuring ozone in the stratosphere, atmospheric temperatures, winds and solar energy from an orbit 372 miles high.
Four of the 10 scientific instruments aboard the craft will analyze the atmosphere’s protective layer of ozone, which experts believe is being destroyed by man-made air pollution. Scientists hope to observe annual variations of the hole in the ozone above the Antarctic Circle.
Discovery also will carry eight rats into orbit. Scientists will examine the animals after the flight to see how the period of weightlessness affected their hind leg muscles.